Boston Marathon Bombing

Failure To Read Rights to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Raises Concerns

The authorities may be screwing up on a big case


As the lone surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing lay hospitalized under heavy guard, the American Civil Liberties Union and a federal public defender raised concerns about investigators' plan to question 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights. …

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said the legal exception applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is "not an open-ended exception" to the Miranda rule, which guarantees the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

The federal public defender's office in Massachusetts said it has agreed to represent Tsarnaev once he is charged. Miriam Conrad, public defender for Massachusetts, said he should have a lawyer appointed as soon as possible because there are "serious issues regarding possible interrogation."

NEXT: West, Texas, Residents Begin Return Home

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Actually this is a good thing for him… any statements made not under Miranda (and not excepted) won’t make it into his trial.

    1. Yes, the real question here is what, if anything, they will try to get admitted into his trial. That’s the only real issue here with the Miranda delay (unless they delay for too long; there’s a limit to how long they can wait to Mirandize him).

  2. Questioning him without Miranda *should* be the equivalent of granting him immunity for any statements made. We’ll see if any information received is used to advance “public safety” as claimed, or to convict him.

  3. No lawyer here, but isn’t there a solution applicable to this and many other situations relative to the Miranda requirement? Let suspects be questioned without the warning, but bar from evidence in a trial any comment made by a suspect prior to such a reading of their rights? What am I missing?

    1. Nothing, so far. Most people don’t really understand Miranda inadmissibility though. They think it’s like on tv, where Miranda warnings always come right away.

    2. I was under the impression that the 2010 DOJ memo cited a 1984 Supreme Court decision which supported the notion that pre-Miranda warning interrogations “might” be entered into court proceedings?

      1. From Wiki:

        Under this exception, to be admissible in the government’s direct case at a trial, the questioning must not be “actually compelled by police conduct which overcame his will to resist,” and must be focused and limited, involving a situation “in which police officers ask questions reasonably prompted by a concern for the public safety.”

  4. It’s a moot point. It’s a rule so a suspects testimony won’t be used against him at trial, but they don’t need to use his testimony to get a conviction. They have oodles of evidence, both of the bombing and the spree a few days later.

    It would be troubling if they just picked some guy at random, like a Richard Jewel, and then tried to convict him by forcing testimony without giving Miranda, but that isn’t the case here.

    1. In cases of suspending rights due to “public safety” exceptions, I thought it always had less to do with the case at hand and more about the precedent that’s being set.

      Suppose, if you will, a future bombing suspect in which additional evidence was lacking and the case was much more dependent on the suspect’s testimony. If the pre-Miranda warning testimony can be entered into court proceedings (as I believe is the case, as indicated above), doesn’t this constitute a withering a way of due process in the name of security?

  5. This should also raise concerns……..LrbsUVSVl8

    1. Look, if you have a problem with this, you’re just going to have to amend the Constitution.

      Have it say something about people being secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. Prohibiting unreasonable searches would be good too. Say something about them needing a warrant, probable cause to get it, and describing particular places to be searched, and what persons or things they’re looking for.

      Until then, get over it.

      1. True. Prob is, I WOULD’VE been the only Bostonian shut over a middle fucking finger ‘cuz THIS bitch ain’t sucking no fucking SWAT dick by raising by hands like a common criminal.

        See my head? Put a bullet in it. ‘Cuz my pride doesn’t allow me to walk down NO fucking AMERICAN street with my hands on my head over a search fuckin’ fest…

  6. SHOT not ‘shut’

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.